|Coin||Gold Fortieth-Ounce 2015 Britannia|
Like many other mints, the Royal Mint issues bullion coins in precious metals, having much higher intrinsic value than their face value. The one-fortieth ounce (1/40 oz) gold coins are denominated as Fifty Pence (50p) and have been issued since 2014.
These tiny coins are legal tender but are not intended for circulation. They are targeted at collectors who appreciate the special editions as pieces of art. The coins are typically "one-year" types usually issued in parallel with other denominations with the same reverse designs.
Britannia as a symbol has been depicted on British coinage for centuries. The bullion series called Britannia has been issued in gold since 1987 and in silver since 1997; it has a "definitive" depiction - used on bullion coins (Brilliant Uncirculated grade), as well as “Britannia, the Changing Face of Britain” - a series of one-year designs like this one - used on proofs made for collectors.
The design for 2015 is the first commission of Antony Dufort for the Royal Mint; his interpretation of this much-loved national figure was so admired by the Mint that it was selected for the country’s new definitive bimetallic circulating £2 introduced the same year. The icon wears her familiar Corinthian helmet and holds the trident, a symbolic reminder of Britain’s maritime might. The version for the silver and gold proofs is given more details than the one on circulating coinage; there is a backdrop of a sailing ship with billowing sails, cliffs and a lighthouse - a nod to the pre-decimal penny and halfpenny designs.
This fortieth-ounce gold proof coin was issued individually and in sets.
The obverse of the coin depicts the crowned old head of Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her Coronation (her effigy known as the "Fifth Portrait").
In small letters below the head, the artist's initials J.C (for Jody Clark).
Running continuously around the effigy is the monarch's legend: ELIZABETH II · D · G · REG · F · D · 50 PENCE ·. Translated from Latin: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen, Defender of the Faith, followed by the value and denomination in English.
The reverse shows the standing figure of Britannia, the female personification of Great Britain, facing left. She is wearing a crested Corinthian helmet; in her right hand she is holding a trident which rests on her shoulder. Her shield has the symbol of the Union Jack cross on it.
In the background, cliffs and a lighthouse to left, a sailing ship to right.
Around left, the inscription 1/40 oz FINE GOLD 999.9 2015; around right, BRITANNIA.
The artist's initials A.D. (for Antony Dufort) are around below right, facing the opposite way to BRITANNIA.
3,075 individual coins, plus coins in sets.
The indivudal coins were sold in a presentation folder, with the coin encapsulated in plastic. Royal Mint product code: BR15G40; issue price: £55.00.